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In addition to these particulars, it is a well-known fact that for all injuries inflicted by serpents, and those even of an otherwise incurable nature, it is an excellent remedy to apply the entrails of the serpent itself to the wound; as also, that persons who have once swallowed a viper's liver, boiled, will never afterwards be attacked by serpents. The snake, too, is not venomous, except, indeed, upon certain days of the month when it is irritated by the action of the moon: it is a very useful plan to take it alive, and pound it in water, the wound inflicted by' it being fomented with the preparation. Indeed, it is generally supposed that this reptile is possessed of numerous other remedial properties, as we shall have occasion more fully to mention from time to time: hence it is that the snake is consecrated to Æsculapius.1 As for Democritus, he has given some monstrous preparations from snakes, by the aid of which the language of birds, he says, may be understood.2

The Æsculapian snake was first brought to Rome from Epidaurus,3 but at the present day it is very commonly reared in our houses4 even; so much so, indeed, that if the breed were not kept down by the frequent conflagrations, it would be impossible to make head against the rapid increase of them. But the most beautiful of all the snakes are those which are of an amphibious nature. These snakes are known as "hydri,"5 or water-snakes: in virulence their venom is inferior to that of no other class of serpents, and their liver is preserved as a remedy for the ill effects of their sting.

A pounded scorpion neutralizes the venom of the spotted lizard.6 From this last animal, too, there is a noxious preparation made; for it has been found that wine in which it has been drowned, covers the face of those who drink it with morphew. Hence it is that females, when jealous of a rival's beauty, are in the habit of stifling a spotted lizard in the unguents which they use. In such a case, the proper remedy is yolk of egg, honey, and nitre. The gall of a spotted lizard, beaten up in water, attracts weasels, they say.

1 The god of Medicine.

2 A favourite reverie with the learned of the East. Dupont de Nemours, Ajasson informs us, has left several Essays on this subject.

3 In Peloponnesus, the principal seat of his worship. A very full account of his introduction, under the form of a huge serpent, into the city of Rome, is given by Ovid, Met. B. xv. 1. 544, et seq. This took place B.C. 293.

4 Among the snakes that are tamed, Ajasson enumerates the Coluber flagelliformis of Dandin, or American coach-whip snake; the Coluber constructor of Linnæus, or Black snake; and the Coluber viridiflavus of Lacepede. The Æsculapian serpent is still found in Italy.

5 Or "chersydri," "amphibious."

6 Or "starred lizard"—"stellio." In reality it is not poisonous.

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